Types of Imaging & Radiation Therapy
At SSM Health we specialize in offering patients personalized cancer treatment, with a proven track record of positive outcomes. One of the treatment options we specialize in is radiation therapy.
Imaging and radiation therapies are painless procedures that provide you with a more focused treatment. These procedures are designed to specifically place radiation in, or near, the tumor all while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
SSM Health radiation oncologists are leaders in their field of radiation therapy. They use some of the latest radiation treatment options in the fight against cancer.
Brachytherapy is a form of internal radiation therapy. Brachytherapy allows us to direct the radioactive material inside or near the area requiring treatment. You can then receive a higher total dose of radiation, in a shorter period of time, to treat a smaller area. Using brachytherapy, the radioactive material can be placed and then removed, or permanently implanted, allowing radioactive levels to diminish on their own within several week or months.
CyberKnife® is a non-invasive treatment option for patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors. It is also commonly used for patients who are seeking an alternative to surgery or traditional radiation therapy.
Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) uses 3D computed tomography (CT) images to enable a more precise and effective way of delivering radiation therapy, allowing physicians to treat cancers that were previously untreatable with radiation therapy. IMRT allows physicians to visually chart the location of the tumor and surrounding normal tissue, and then deliver higher doses of radiation directly to tumors and cancer cells, while minimizing the damage to surrounding organs.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy
This type of therapy uses 2- and 3D imaging to determine the exact location of cancerous tumors before or during radiotherapy. The imaging helps to reduce the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation to between two and five millimeters. Radiation beams can be adjusted to pinpoint the cancerous area. It’s even effective if the tumor has shifted slightly since a patient’s last visit or treatment. This maximizes the treatment directed at the cancerous cells.
Linear Accelerator is the most common external beam radiation treatment used. Its beams are able to match the shape, size and intensity needed to effectively treat the cancerous tumors.
MammoSite® is a patented process delivering radiation into a breast after a tumor has been removed through a lumpectomy. After the tumor is removed, a small balloon is attached to a thin catheter tube. This is then placed inside the lumpectomy cavity after a small incision is made in the breast. Next, the balloon is inflated with a saline solution so fitting snugly within the open cavity.
During treatment a computer-controlled High Dose Rate (HDR) machine is connected to a portion of the catheter that remains outside the breast. Once your radiation oncologist determines the necessary amount of radiation, it is delivered by the machine through the catheter. No radiation remains in the breast between treatments.
TomoTherapy® delivers a sophisticated form of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). It allows your doctor to combine treatment planning, CT image-guided patient positioning, and treatment delivery into one integrated system.
Ultimately, the goal of radiation therapy will vary depending on the type and stage of your cancer. Your personalized treatment plan will be developed with the help of your SSM Health oncologist. If you’re interested in learning more, or receiving a second opinion, schedule an appointment with an SSM Health radiation oncologist today.